After releases for CPU, Shipwrec, Touchin' Bass and many others, Chris Roman, aka 214, lands on 2020 Vision for the first time — a label normally associated with house but which has released music by Carl Finlow / Random Factor over the years (see elsewhere on this page). 'Potential Events' swirls with Yamaha CS-80 styled pads, crisp beats and growling, unquantised analogue bass. The effect is like viewing a frosty industrial landscape from a hilltop, in all its bleak, beautiful majesty. 'Windeye' is a crisp minimalist acid electro piece, which Radioactive Man remixes into a weird, wonderful funk number, and 'Back To Sine' indicates Roman's bass mastery. To close, 'Fly By Night' is an emotive and warm missive. All together, hugely impressive.
In which former M_nus crew member and minimal techno DJ, Magda, teams up with TB Arthur and Detroit electro king BMG (of Interdimensional Transmissions) for some psychoactive excursions. ‘2.1’ sounds like a shadowy lab experiment with its ghostly blips and dubby clicks, but ‘2.2’ is a funkier piece, its undulating bass and acidic riffs doused in tape hiss and punctuated by toms. Lastly, ‘2.3’ has some satisfying abstract metallic touches, rounding out an engrossing EP best heard in headphones.
The third release on Akoya Circles comes from the Zurich-based label boss Look Like. ‘Dreamwaterz’ is, naturally, a celestial transmission, with lush pads creating a somnambulist quality, though the drums hit hard beneath the bleepy melody, a thin coating of tape hiss suggesting an analogue quality. ‘Amnesia’ is possibly even better, its 808 State-esque pads and warm bass dropping into a minimalist dancefloor piece. Lastly, ‘World Below’ is more IDM styled, though still has a weighty Steel City bassline. Beautiful.
Jensen Interceptor & Assembler Code
'Hyper Reality EP'
The Sydney beat machine teams up with frequent collaborator Assembler Code for a lesson in forward-thinking, and dancefloor aimed, electro. The urgent acidic groove of ‘5050’ is relentless, but the title track is a more reflective piece, where sci-fi cerulean pads flow over Jensen’s trademark tough drums and a bleeping bassline. Cultivated Electronics label boss Sync 24 delivers the killer blow with a remix of the tune ‘Jenson’, crafting a b-line that cuts through the track like a buzzsaw. Immense release.
A well-timed compilation from 2020 Vision of electro master Carl Finlow’s material for the label, ‘Introspective’ shows just why he’s held in such high esteem. ‘Anomaly’ is an eerie drift of phantom synth and needling electronics, ‘Convergence’ is a dark vocal synthpop beauty, ‘We Suspect’ is fractured funk, and ‘Unintentional’ is immaculate in its mix of electro bass and melodic details. ‘Dangerous Devotion’ displays Finlow’s gift for dark Kraftwerkian soundtrack material. ‘Introspective’ is a great introduction — don’t forget to check out his material as Silicon Scally, Random Factor and Voice Stealer, too.
'Juno Lazermachine Remixed'
This enormous 19-track compendium takes the remix package to a new level, and has some of the best names in contemporary electro tackling Juno Lazermachine’s raw and metallic ‘Pursuit’. There’s a variety of approaches here, from AL35510 and Hitachi II’s linear 4/4 pumping, to Commuter’s superb Detroit leaning machine funk. Eoism contributes pitch-bent chords and a jazzy touch, and Slaves Of Sinus head down the early Autechre IDM route. It’s more like a compilation of individual tracks, and an excellent one, too.
'The Shit (Andrew Red Hand Remix)'
Romanian producer Andrew Red Hand steps up to put his spin on ‘The Shit’ by Detroit’s Sean Deason, and it’s a marvellous meeting of minds. The classic 313 chord stabs of the original cascade over Andrew’s broken electro beats and bassline, before switching up to 4/4 to intensify the vibe. Admittedly it doesn’t do a lot, but what it does, it does incredibly well. It’s perfect material for switching between electro and linear techno in a set.
'The Third Annual War Child Fundraiser'
This collection spread across two 12”s (or digital packages) helps raise funds for children in war zones around the world. A righteous enough reason to purchase already, but the tunes contained within are something else. In addition to jungle, acid and house tracks, there are several essential electro cuts here. DJ Overdose offers the apocalyptic boogie of ‘More Ounce’, a lowrider rattling mix of ascending Kraftwerk synth and slamming Miami bass beats. Textasy remixes fellow Dallas producer Cygnus’s ‘laaafos Blank Mix’, bringing the ominous chrome funk with crispy beats, though William The Squid’s ‘Arab Sun’ is the standout: a dreamy acidic number.